Advocating Against Romance Scammers
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AARP Podcast - The Perfect Scam - Will Johnson - Aug 23, 2019
Retired Veteran's Photo Used in Online Dating Scam
Multiple fake social media profiles were used to con women
Interview with Kathy Waters & Lt. Colonel Bryan Denny
After 26 years of service, U.S. Army Col. Bryan Denny retires from an incredible career in the military and begins to receive odd messages. They're coming from women around the world who claim to be in online relationships with him. But Bryan isn't on any dating sites. Meanwhile Kathy Waters is learning about the online boyfriend of her friend Sharon. They plan to marry, but Sharon has never met the man in person because he claims to be in the military stationed overseas. Sharon shows Kathy a picture of the man she knows as Ross, but the name on his uniform reads Bryan Denny. Unsure if her friend is in a real romance or caught up in romance scam, Kathy begins to investigate. She heads to Facebook, and what she finds is shocking. The same picture Kathy's friend has fallen in love with is featured in multiple profiles across the internet under a wide variety of names. That's when Kathy knows she needs to track down the real Bryan Denny.
After some digging, Kathy is able to locate him and reaches out to see if Bryan has any knowledge of what's going on. Bryan has been fielding calls, emails and sometimes in-person visits from women who've fallen in love with his picture. Together, Bryan and Kathy uncover hundreds of fraudulent social media and dating site accounts that are using Bryan's image, as well as images of his family members, to entice women into romance scams. Disgusted by what they've found, Kathy and Bryan decide to fight back against these scammers.
TIPS: If you think you've been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360. Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it's important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.
Many thanks to our producers Julie Getz and Brook Ellis, also audio engineer Julio Gonzales, and of course, my cohost, Frank Abagnale. For AARP - The Perfect Scam, I'm Will Johnson.
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